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Music Review - `Blood Red Moon` by Barbara Bergin (HC)

Barbara Bergin -- Blood Red Moon   (click on image to watch video)

 27 February 2020

 

Black

On her first album, Bergin confidently ranges over a number of musical styles as she tells stories of possums in the corn, life in the city, whistlin’ trains, and warm places. Bergin’s warm vocals draw us in immediately, and her consummate storytelling skills rivet us. Her voice recalls the songs of fellow Texan Nanci Griffith, but her music flows from lilting folk balladry and rambling bluegrass-style hoedowns to somber piano melodies and humorous and folksy fables.

The driving guitar strums of “My Life’s Good (Cuz I Don’t Live in the City)” opens with a phrase from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky.” The tune celebrates a rural life of “feeding cattle, dogs, and horses, cleaning the barn,” where at night crickets come out and make an awesome sound and where a “starlit night is an amazing thing.” The hypnotically rhythmic ballad “She Danced with the Young Prince of Wales” tells the story of a young Union soldier off to fight against Robert E. Lee who meets up with a “young maiden” who tells a tale of her dancing with the Prince of Wales. The somber tale sings of lost love and lost chances and the power of memory to preserve the sheen of a momentary encounter with beauty. A rolling banjo kicks off the bluegrass romp “Possum in the Corn,” while concertina, octave mandolin, and guitar weave a magical spell in the jaunty folk ballad “Three Eggs in My Apron.” The stirring call and response harmonies of “Let’s Get on Up!” circle upward in a transporting gospel song, made more beautiful by the strains of the dulcimer running through the song. “Like Father Like, Son/Cluck Ol’ Hen” closes the album with a jaunty bluegrass tale about the love of good corn whiskey being passed down from one generation to another; the tune closes with the instrumental ramble “Cluck Ol’ Hen.”

Blood Red Moon showcases Bergin’s ingenious way with words, her riveting storytelling, and her musical virtuosity.

 

 Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.

 

Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.

 

 

 


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